I recently stumbled upon a good read titled ‘Innovation is a State of Mind’ by James O’Loghlin.

My takeaway so far is that innovators are not born a special DNA that makes them the avant-gard trendsetter we all look up to; they aren’t untouchables or a special breed. You don’t even to have to attend liberty arts college to be one.  Although most of us do innovate in some form or other at work, the difference with innovators is that they have a particular purpose in mind that feeds the wider customers’ needs.

We see the word ‘innovation’ used a lot in business culture and understand the role plays for businesses to hold its unique value in the market.  We also know that skill, knowledge and abilities of employees in a company, among other factors like culture, facilitate innovation.  Moreover, HR is responsible for creating the cultural environment where teams create and transform ideas and put them into practise.

Let the circle of innovation begin, you say … but how?  How do organisations train people to think like innovators?

As organisations increasingly focus on building innovation – we need to start with innovation capability –  coaching their staff to think like innovators. The methodologies vary for each organisation e.g. design thinking, Lean, business model canvas, Agile etc; there is no one prescribed pathway towards creating an innovative culture.

Design thinking is one methodology we apply at CGL to find the best-fit solution for all our services.

‘Design thinking’, is a user-centric, solution-focussed-thinking that starts with a goal of a better future rather than solving a specific problem.

Three things we love about design thinking is that

  • It starts with a deep understanding of the customer therefore allowing us to build a valuable experience based on the customers’ need.
  • It allows us to build innovation as part of our everyday work life
  • It’s quick and repetitive process means we spend less time planning and more time doing.
  • It allows us to see the world through our customers’ eyes, every day.

For more info, see Fast Company’s simple description of the four key elements of design thinking: http://www.fastcompany.com/919258/design-thinking-what

Also, check out this case study of how a kiwi manufacturing company used HR and learning practices to drive innovation. http://www.business.otago.ac.nz/mgmt/research/omgr/kohli1.pdf